We arrive in Barcelona on a typically mild late summer day. This city never fails to impress – a beautiful balance of urban intensity and yearround beach chill. We’re here to visit the opening of the latest of one of my favourite hotel brands. Ian Schrager’s rising global influence landed in Spain with the arrival of his newest venture in the growing empire: The Barcelona EDITION. Often a frequenter of the London EDITION in Soho, in Barcelona we’re staying in the equivalent El Born district; the city’s creative hub in the centre of the famed Ciutat Vella district - there’s clearly a theme running through the locations of these hotels.
Squeezed between the waters of the Mediterranean Sea and l’Eixample neighbourhood – Barcelona’s renowned boutique shopping epicentre – the location is the beating heart of this city. Adjacent is the iconic Santa Caterina Market which we can see out of our corner room. The EDITION brand has always done one thing very well, effortless luxury. Lázaro Rosa-Violán has designed the interiors with Shrager’s classic wood panelled style that ties together all these hotels across the world. The staff are also relaxed in classic Spanish ‘au fait’ style.
First impressions are pretty awesome. You might think this is a 1970’s office block conversion... because it is. However, the double-height lobby space dominated by a striking, sapphire blue chandelier and the Salvador Dalí and Antoni Gaudí inspired furniture give the hotel an impressive but relaxed welcome.
The best part of the hotel has to be the punch room. Imported from the London EDITION, this bar, located on the first floor, may be a little hard to find at first. We spent no less that 20 minutes searching for the entrance and eventually came to a wall panel that suddenly slid to the right. After the initial shock that we’d had damaged part of this almost brand new hotel, we stepped into a totally hidden world of long drinks, punches and sangrias served from vintage silver bowls.
We’ve never been one for the ‘secret bar’ concept - finding it a little cliché, especially in luxury hotels, but this is how you do a hidden joint the right way. There’s an obvious link between the drinks we’re being served and the Castilian historic quarters we’re sitting in - a swirling mixture of colonial trade imports, new age spices and hard liquors.
Two ladles of punch later, we were pretty past it, which prompted us back to our quarters overlooking the Santa Caterina Market. In short, The Barcelona EDITION delivers an innovative travel experience in Barcelona, bringing the new generation of luxury and lifestyle to the city centre with a strong focus on sustainability. The hotel perfectly exemplifies the easy luxury of the EDITION brand with genuine, personal, uncomplicated levels of service delivered by some pretty impassioned employees.
It’s well worth a stay for frequent visitors - the only thing to bear in mind, the price-point. This hotel doesn’t break the bank, but it is on the pricier side for Barcelona stays. So if your visit to this European cultural capital is for relaxing moments and exceptional hospitality - start saving those pennies. Personally, we wouldn’t want to stay anywhere else.
Gay Times were guests of Marriott International for the opening of Barcelona EDITION but all views and opinion expressed are our own. marriott.com